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USO to open new center on JBLM

Many in the community help make it happen

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The United Service Organizations, or USO, continually works to strengthen America's military members by keeping them connected to family, home and country.

To that end, the USO Northwest will soon open the new Camp Lewis USO Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The site is scheduled to be dedicated Monday, Nov. 20, at 10:30 a.m. in the America's Credit Union building near Waller Hall.

"Without question, Ken Leonard -- America's Credit Union CEO and USO Northwest Board Member -- is to be commended for offering space in his credit union," wrote CDR Donald Leingang, USN (Ret.), in an email.

"We are very thankful for this gift."

He also added that West Shore Contracting, Boeing, and Sound Kitchen and Bath played vital roles in making the center a reality.

"I am just happy to have been able to contribute to this worthy and needed cause," commented Leonard before the start of last week's Turkey Shoot at Eagles Pride Golf Course.

Leonard had offered his facility to both USO Northwest and Rally Point 6 in order to better serve soldiers and veterans.

Both organizations saw the opportunity the offer meant to the JBLM community.

"Our servicemembers deserve the best, and by contributing space and money to this center, we honor them," Leonard added.

ACU paid all costs associated with the construction.

The Camp Lewis Center also pays respects to the history of JBLM.

"With JBLM celebrating 100 years this year, we felt the name ‘Camp Lewis USO Center' was an appropriate name to connect the 100 years of history with the present and future," continued Leingang.

Moreover, opening the center on JBLM made sense to all concerned.

"It will be in the heart of the Lewis side of Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Our new location will be a short walk from Waller Hall and even some of the family housing."

To one individual, the Camp Lewis USO Center has a deep personal meaning.

Brad Al-Juboori is a Sound Kitchen and Bath employee, and he helped to provide the architectural design for the center.

"His heart was clearly and truly invested in the project," wrote Leingang, "because he wanted to give something back to the United States Army -- the same army that saved his family."

Not long ago, he worked side-by-side with American soldiers as an interpreter in Iraq, service that led to him and his family coming to this country.

"Brad's story is truly amazing and is now part of the USO Northwest's story as we continue to serve the military and their family members at the Camp Lewis USO Center," added Leingang.

As the center's operation gets under way, it will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Like all USO centers, it will flex those hours to meet the needs of the military members it serves.

"The center exists to serve those who protect us," mentioned Leonard.

"We are proud to have made this happen."

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